Saturday, August 29, 2009

Zembla, ctnd.

Gradus might be termed a Puritan. One essential dislike, formidable in its simplicity, pervaded his dull soul: he disliked injustice and deception. He disliked their union -they were always together- with a wooden passion that neither had, nor needed, words to express itself. [...] The generality was godly, the specific diabolical. [...] People who knew too much, scientists, writers, mathematicians, crystalographers and so forth, were no better than kings or priests: they all held an unfair share of power of which others were cheated.
I have considered in my earlier note...the particular dislikes, and hence the motives, of our "automatic man," as I phrased it at a time when he did not have as much body, did not offend the senses as violently as now; was, in a word, further removed from our sunny, green, grass-fragrant Arcady.
V. Nabokov, Pale Fire, pp.152, 279

Zembla, cntd.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I recall seeing him from my porch, on a brilliant morning, burning a whole stack of them in the pale fire of the incinerator before which he stood with bent head like an official mourner among the wind-borne black butterflies of that backyard auto-da-fé.
Nabokov, Pale Fire, p.15

Charmides Place


Saturday, August 15, 2009



Now "happy" is something extremely subjective. One of our sillier Zemblan proverbs says: the lost glove is happy.
V. Nabokov, Pale Fire, Vintage, 1989, p.17

Saturday, August 01, 2009

try again. fail again. fail better.